Photo of peer coach Joe Tlustos

Joe Tlustos

Coach, Sioux Falls

“Like a number of things in life, working through an addiction has a strong give back component. When I was at my worst, people were there for me who had been where I was. My work at FIT gives me the chance to give back, to be that person who is there for those who need help, need someone to talk with, and most importantly, need the connection of someone who knows what they are going through. That's the peer part of peer addiction management coaching.”

Coach type: Person with addiction

Coaching since:  2017

Lived experience:

I suffered from multiple addictions (including opioids, alcohol and others) for more than 20 years, mainly due to undiagnosed mental health conditions such as Bipolar Disorder II, severe depression, anxiety and adult ADHD. I voluntarily entered inpatient treatment in November of 2008 and have been in recovery ever since.

Professional background:

I spent more than 35 years in the broadcast media industry as an Emmy-award winning program director, on-air talent and talent coach, operating radio stations in Rochester and the Twin Cities, MN. For eight years I served as director of radio for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. I'm also a long-time volunteer, working with nonprofits focused on hunger issues, and have been sharing my personal story of addiction since 2009.


Mental health (bipolar, depression, severe anxiety, adult ADHD); opioid addictions; blue collar, rural and white collar populations; and creatives (performers, writers, musicians, film directors)


I enjoy antiques, vintage and retro picking/restoring/repurposing. I also collect LP records, vintage hi-fi and radio equipment and red wing art pottery, and consider myself an amateur South Dakota historian. 

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